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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

Monico.    He never drank anything at all and I
wondered why.    One day I went to see a friend of
mine whose hobby was collecting liqueurs.   He had
a hundred and fifty different bottles arranged on a
shelf.   I got to his flat about nine-thirty only to find
my unfortunate Australian  completely drunk.    I
asked him where he lived and took him out into the
Strand to find a taxi.   We found a horse cab and I
took him home to his lodgings in Victoria where I
put him to bed.   This was not so easy as he was in
uniform and had puttees on.    I had never undone
puttees before and this took some time.   I eventually
put him to bed and went home.    I came the next
morning and got him some whisky.   He was one of
those  unfortunate people who, if they have one
drink, cannot stop.    I felt rather responsible about
him.   He knew hardly anyone in London.   He got
drunk  again  the  next day and  remained so  for
about a week.   I told him that he had better come
and stay at my place and sober up.    He did, and
remained drunk for several more days.   I went to a
friend of mine who had a collection of drugs of all
kinds.   I asked if he could give me anything to stop
the Australian from drinking.   He gave me a small
tabloid and told me to put it into his tea.   I did this
the following morning and went out thinking that,
later on in the day, I would come home and prob-
ably find a corpse.    I came home in the afternoon
and found my patient very well indeed.   He refused
to touch a drink of any kind and, shortly after the
War, I saw him off at Waterloo for Australia.   He
said that he would come back in four years to fetch